New report suggests that transport subsidiaries are not sustainable - CILT(UK)
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New report suggests that transport subsidiaries are not sustainable

22 February 2022/Categories: Active Travel & Travel Planning, Aviation, Rail, Transport Planning

The report sets out the impact that changes in consumer and working habits have had, and will continue to have, on transport. According to the report, a fall in demand for aviation and rail mean that expected revenues will not materialise.

Covid’s impact on aviation is likely long-term, after a 97% drop in passenger flights to and from UK airports in April 2020 compared with the year before. Dr Richard Wellings, report editor at the IEA said that vast taxpayer-funded bailouts of the sector have moved the sector further away from a level playing field, favouring state-backed national airlines. Allowing airlines to collapse may have led to a reallocation of resources to leaner and more efficient operators.

The rail sector could be hit particularly hard by changes in travel habits, as many rail users have shifted to working from home.

While aviation and rail may experience a prolonged fall in the volume of passengers, car travel may be an unexpected beneficiary of the crisis.

With the rise of working from home, travelling by car to work may become quicker so more people could shift to using cars. Less congestion in some areas may also favour the use of cars over other transport modes.

Dr Richard Wellings said: “The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards virtual meetings and working from home. This is having a devastating impact on public transport and the rail industry, which now faces a long-term financial crisis.

“Lower than expected passenger numbers make the high level of rail subsidies even more difficult to justify, especially in the context of harmful tax increases and pressure on the public finances. Ministers’ claims that new rail capacity is desperately needed are no longer credible, raising serious questions about the wisdom of proceeding with hugely expensive projects like HS2.”


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